Social Shopping anyone? Indians are moving in droves to buy goods online!


Till now, you must have heard about increasing number of Indians joining social networking sites and increasing Internet penetration across the nation. But have you heard of Indians buying goods online? Not many? Think again!

Here are some of the statistics from the AC Nielsen Global Online Shopping Report 2010 –

  • Currently more 23% Indians surveyed don’t buy any goods online
  • 8 out of 10 Indians surveyed plan to shop online in the next twelve months and more than a quarter indicate that they spend towards 11% of their monthly expenditure on online purchases
  • 71% Indians trust recommendations from their family, 64% from friends and 29% from product reviews while making an online purchase decision
  • More than 50% of Indians utilize social media sites to help them make purchase decisions
  • Books (41%), Airline tickets / reservations (40%) and electronic equipments (36%) dominate the online purchase basket

Online Purchase Decision basis

Be it – Book My Show, PVR Cinemas, Dominos Pizza, Nine West, Make My Trip etc. all of them are utilizing social media as a tool of sale rather than only engagement. Creation of apps to book tickets, apps to buy and sell used items, apps to take orders online – companies are going all out to woo the new age customer.

So how come such a huge change is been brought about?

As pointed out in the statistics, people trust their friends for recommendations for everything from buying clothes to going for a movie. Most of these discussions happen on social networking sites and companies are trying to drive their sales through these discussions

With increasing Internet and social media penetration in India, presence of companies online has become a must and with time they have moved from just engagement to generating sales through the online medium

The gradual transition of Facebook to a social media market place where goods can be marketed and sold has been a very big factor in the development of social shopping in India.

Many e–commerce apps like Payvment, My Merch Store etc. have been developed which can enable one to sell products directly from Facebook.

But there still are certain challenges to overcome before one can claim to have achieved great success –

  • Relatively low Internet penetration
  • Lack of confidence in giving details of credit card
  • Indians still like to touch and feel the products before buying them

There are still miles and miles to go before companies can capture the e–commerce space in India. But the future looks promising.

What do you think of this? Should organizations of all kinds join social media? What should their strategy be?

  1. Sharad Puranik says

    Hey Indians do not prefer buying online and I do not think that is going to change any time soon. As you said Indians would like to touch and feel the product, go and bargain with the shopkeeper.So those rushing to sep up India centric E commerce sites , hold your horses!

  2. Sneha says

    Social shopping is now becoming popular and i saw a website which provide us highly discounted shopping deals from all the online shopping stores and also coupons that give us more discounts on highly discounted deals.

  3. Strendy says

    Social shopping are getting popular now a days, but recommendations from family and friends play an important role. Its all about engaging new customers.

  4. naresh says

    Recently i saw 1 site on the net this site is really useful for people who are used to do shopping on internet.

  5. J says

    Good article. Good trend spotting. e/m commerce is about to usher big in India. I know of one working on it and making really disrupting stuff!


    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Yeah its slowly but surely coming up in India :)

  6. Chantal says

    Hi Aseem,

    Good article and promising numbers!
    Indeed, India is lagging behind in e-commerce usage and spending due to the lack of internet penetration. However, I guess the technology leap will allow them to cath up very quickly.
    In my opinion, e-commerce should not be added to social networks, since people don’t want to be interrupted or distracted by sellers when engaging in social activities, since for millions that was the original reason to start using Facebook. Instead, social media should be added to e-commerce. That means webshops should provide their consumers the ability to share and discuss products in real-time, when they want and with who they want. This way, you give the power of social commerce to the consumer instead of imposing it on them by interfering in their social activities.

    An example of a social shopping application which has combined these aspects is Shopwithyourfriends.
    While shoping, consumers invite friends from Facebook, Twitter or MSN and launch a real-time social shopping session where they can discuss items, ask advice or compose outfits together with their friends. The whole session is co-browsed, which allows them to get instant advice to make the right purchase decision and enjoy shopping with their friends.

    You might take a look at the website for more info or a demo. The tool can lower the barrier to buy online considerably, since instant advice from people you trust is now included in the online buying process.

    Would love to hear your opinion on this tool. Do you think it can be applied to Indian e-commerce and would it help to spur online buying behavior?


    Chantal van der Vorst, The Netherlands

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Hey thanks for your comments..The tool you have mentioned actually looks brilliant, I would like to mention the following points –

      1. For a country like India it would be amazing because still a very high percentage look for recommendations from families and friends.

      2. The biggest and most amazing thing of the application is the fact that it would make social networks less distractive. So social networks can be used to connect to friends and only those who are interested would use this app.

      Online buying behaviour in India still depends on many factors like Internet penetration, view of Indian consumers to touch and feel a product. But am sure that with time this would improve and a tool like yours has great potential for the future.

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